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Posts Tagged ‘economic cooking’

A leaf from the Newton Wonder – a painting a day

December 5, 2010 1 comment

 SOLD   size 6 in x 6 in, 15cm x 15cm

The snow which arrived on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday in large quantities has now almost all washed away. My neighbours who moved out while their building work was being done are back finally, they must be so relieved, and it is good to see the lights on at night knowing its inhabited again.

Last week’s combination of gammon on Friday and chicken on Sunday made a wealth of other meals. There was a spicy stir fry with Thai noodles , lots of sandwiches and finally chopped chicken and ham in mayonnaise to go in jacket potatoes. Then there was soup using the stock from the carcase and the gammon rind one cold lunchtime when no-one could get to school or work. The fat which came off was mixed with millet for the birds.

On Friday the school was appealing for volunteers to go and scrape snow off the paths and drives in order to get the place open for Monday….it is a close call- which is most unpleasant: two hours hard labour in the cold or another day with damp fractious boys all over the house?

There was no need to go and scrape snow off the school drive the rain has seen to it. Even the four foot icicle fell down today. I saved a section to show to some South African visitors who are due on Tuesday ( I have  saved it in the freezer).

After my vocal complaints last weekend about lack of help in the kitchen especially on a Sunday I was surprised to find that the promised weekend free of cooking really did happen and we still got a roast!!! We also got more kit made croissants than any of us could face No2 just kept taking trays out of the oven.

I have now run out of all but my last carton of Goats milk( UHT not brill. in tea)…the desperate housewives of the weald had stripped the supermarket of bread, milk, goatsmilk , UHT milk and goats UHT, fruit juice (so essential)  crumpets, teacakes, croissants, brioche and butter as soon as they could get the car back on the road ( I did not check to see if they were out of tins of borlotti beans too I expect they were; we are one of the Home Counties). When we couldn’t drive and the shopping was done by toboggan there was more food to buy. I have had to buy what is a marketing dream…oats milk you could pick it up by mistake glancing at the packet in  hurry. I don’t know if it will be any good, if it is horrid rest assured I will tell you.

The snow melted to show a soggy lawn with lots of soggy leaves, I therefore spent far too long raking them up, I have a small long barrow of apple and oak leaves, some of the apple leaves have lovely coloured stems so I did a quick sketch in watercolour (it was that or continue raking). The leaf is from the Newton Wonder tree which has big round serrated leaves, you are looking at the underside to see the best of the colour.

#160 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

Buy one get one free

November 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Lentil and ham soup with sippets

There is nothing better than a bargain, but I prefer to pre-plan my bargains and make sure there is enough variety to keep us all (well me ) happy.

There are times when I have regretted the buy one get one free in the supermarket, it tempts me into buying outside my normal pattern and then I find I end up eating more than I want of one thing or never working it into a meal schedule and throwing at least some of it away. I make an exception for packs of satsumas and new potatoes pausing to check that the pack price is not simply double what it would be normally.

My big plan to get us though the next few years is to go back to some of the habits of the frugal fifties and earlier. As a kid I loved this as it meant you knew that if you had boiled bacon joints one day the next week would contain a soup either made with lentils or with leeks and potato. My grandfather could recite the weekly menu that his mother used to get the family through until she had more than one working adult at home-1900-1916. I wish I had written it down, it was fairly austere but it had a takeaway for the day when the washing was done-chips and mushy peas. Apart from that day it was all home cooked and each meal dovetailed around another. They made good use of cheaper cuts of meat and offal too of course, cowheel stew , tripe, elder, breast of lamb, steak and kidney and liver all featured until my childhood in the fifties/sixties.

So the take on buy one get one free is to plan a meal for one day which produces one or more meals for the next two or three days. Today’s example is a gammon piece which was quite dear but it made one meal  on Friday night, it will make one more main meal for four and also lunch on Saturday.

 It is very cold today, warming food is vital; I put a jar of the water in which the ham had boiled into the fridge in case I need it again. The rest I tasted and made a judgement on the salt level, I then diluted it to taste and brought it to the boil. I added half an onion which was left over from something else, a cup of lentils (red) and boiled until it was getting smooth.  I then added a cooking apple peeled and chopped. It had gone a little thin when I add the extra water so I thickened it with semolina ( I could have used ground lentils), I didn’t use cornflour as it could have made it a little too smooth and the soup needs to have a texture to it. Once the semolina was worked in gradually I boiled it for three minutes. Just before serving I diced a slice of the ham and added chopped parsley, winter savoury, black pepper and a pinch of sugar. Serve with sippets, they are easier to cook than croutons. The sippets were made from the heel end of a malted grain loaf; each slice cut in four and gently fried in olive oil. It helps if the bread is old and beginning to dry out. Funny the boys eat brown bread without a word when it is fried. There is still enough on the gammon joint for an evening meal. It keeps well in the fridge so I will leave it until Monday by which time I will have some leftover chicken from Sunday, at the moment I am thinking chicken and ham pie in a creamy sauce. I’d be thinking ham chicken and dried cep risotto if the fussy member of the family didn’t have quite such an anti-risotto stance.

We moved back into our decorated room with a sealed sanded and polished floor, bliss. It has some furniture in too now which is going to take a bit of getting used to. I could end up with all my clothes in one room….odd that.